The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #65553   Message #1082929
Posted By: Q (Frank Staplin)
30-Dec-03 - 10:46 PM
Thread Name: What makes a tune a Rag?
Subject: RE: What makes a tune a Rag?
The Maple Leaf Rag (1899) is one of the best of Joplin's early rags but his later compositions (e. g. Solace, Euphonic Sounds) are considered by some to be hs best.
Joplin left St. Louis and spent two years in Chicago during the World's Fair. What his group played there is not really known, but after his return to Missouri and attendance at the George R. Smith College for Negroes in Sedalia, where he studied music, his first pieces were marches and a waltz. Little is known about the Maple Leaf Club of Sedalia, for which his Maple Leaf Rag was named. With Stark, his publisher, he moved to St. Louis soon afterwards.
Levy Sheet Music has a copy of Maple Leaf Rag which they date 1899, but the cover with its maple leaf mentions later compositions including The Cascades (1904), and gives both St. Louis and New York addresses for Stark, so it cannot have been printed before 1904-1905. This also was the time when Stark and Joplin moved to New York.
The other copy with a cover copyrighted by the American Tobacco Co. may have been printed in Sedalia (only the cover shown), as it states, but it is undated.

The descent of ragtime, as played in the 1890s, from rural Black music of the early slave period is speculative. Its relationship to minstrel show routines, however, especially the cakewalks and marches, is obvious.